Stop 2 on our East Coast Road Trip took us all the way from Smuggler’s Notch Vermont to to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor!
Way out to the ocean, to the east coast off of Maine.
We stayed at Acadia National Park–in Blackwoods campground (sites are assigned upon arrival–reservations guarantee a site will be available that fits your trailer ,so we had site B12), since Blackwoods was the only campground of the 3 camping areas in the park that offered any kind of “wooded sites”. There were definitely trees-all evergreens-but no undergrowth, so not really any true privacy. The sites were large, though, and well-spaced. The entire campground was immaculately cared for. My only complaint? The double fee/pricing they had going on—so I had to pay for camping in the park, and I still had to pay to get into the park? To camp? Per person? Ah well. Necessary evil.
It was well after 4 by the time we arrived. We set up the campsite with a level of efficiency that would have impressed even the most seasoned of campers! But we were just too tired to hike—despite there being at least a half dozen scenic, challenging hiking trails on the island. Still, I wasn’t going to sit on my butt at that campsite for 6 more hours after that long drive, just to go to bed, to rise the next day and drive away—so we agreed to check out Cadillac Mountain. Because you can actually drive to the top, park there, and explore. The views were spectacular. You can actually see Mt Katahdin all the way in central Maine from the top of Cadillac. Incredible.
They say that Mt Desert Island is a ‘coastal desert’, which really just means it is an island of lichen-covered rocks, windswept pines, and blueberries EVERYWHERE. It was certainly a huge change from the lush, mossy rainforest-like woods in the area surrounding Smugglers Notch, Vermont.
The real charm of Mt Desert is the town of Bar Harbor. It is the ultimate east coast town—quaint, Victorian, dripping in American pride—full of artist studios, surf shops, ice cream shops and restaurants. Apparently there are more restaurants per-capita here than anywhere else on the eastern seaboard. With the dog in tow, (and with the town being so packed with people—at 6:30 on a Sunday night!!) all we could do was drive through the town and sightsee from the safety of our car. It’s not like you can take an 85-pound dog into a store to look at stained glass sun-catchers…. What I would have given to spend a day poking around there!!! To eat seafood by the seashore on the patio of some restaurant…. Alas, as we were learning, we simply did not leave ourselves enough time to actually visit these places on our trip and do these fantasy things, we booked distances too far apart and stops too short, and the (Still-in-training-new-rescue) dog just added that extra wrinkle of challenges.
Don’t get me wrong. The dog sat for 8 hours in the car, happily, every day. The dog slept in the teenie-weenie trailer, wearing a cone on her head that made turning around impossible, without a single complaint every night. She lay on the ground outside the trailer, on a leash, just watching people go by, without complaint every afternoon, and she hiked with the energy of a hundred horses every time we went anywhere that we could go with her. She was fabulous in many respects.
But as a new rescue, she was also prone to lunging at people and other dogs, without warning, making her a bit unpredictable in crowds. She was still too unpredictable to walk around a very busy, crowded town like Bar Harbor. Not that this issue would stop us later on the trip, but in Bar Harbor, it did limit us. Ah, well, we were only here for one night so we agreed instead to pick up some fresh produce from the main grocer in town and took it back to the trailer for a big one-pan cook-up with sausages, peppers, onions, mushrooms, cheese and salsa. We slept like the dead, woke refreshed, and did it all over again, this time headed back across the border to the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick.
I hope we see you again soon Bar Harbor. You would be beautiful in the early fall. We will be back…